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Discussion Starter #1
So I have a queenless package two weeks old, very little drawn comb about 4-5 frames partial, a couple frames with capped brood, and a handfull of queen cells I expect to hatch over the weekend, probably Sunday. My issue is the population of worker bees is dwindling rapidly.

I am getting a nuc this weekend, (I hope) to replace a second hive that absconded. If not this weekend, next for sure.

My question. Could I take 1 frame and shake the bees into the package hive before placing the nuc into the new hive?

I can not simply place the nuc frame into the hive because the current hive is a medium and the nuc is a deep.
 

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"Could I take 1 frame and shake the bees into the package hive before placing the nuc into the new hive?"
If I wanted some worker bees from the nuc for the package, what I did would depend on whether I wanted nurse bees, foragers, or a mixture. If nurse bees, I would gently pick up a frame of open brood from the nuc, make sure the queen was not on it, hold it for a few moments to let older bees fly off of it, and brush some bees into the package hive. Nurse bees seem to be readily accepted. If I wanted foragers, I would probably set the nuc up for a few days and then switch the location of the two hives. If I wanted a mixture, I would probably give both hives a tiny spray of Glade air freshener, brush a frame or two of bees from the nuc into the package hive, and try to keep a little distance between the two hives. If too many foragers drifted back to the nuc, I would switch their locations in a few days. I hope it goes well for your hives. David
 

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I don't have much to say other than... don't ruin your nuc's chances at survival or you'll be sitting there with two really weak hives instead of a strong nuc and one weak hive. I thought about adding some bees to our package that went queenless for quite awhile. Assuming there are a good number of capped worker cells, you're about 1-10 days from a nice boost in young bees. When do you expect the capped brood to hatch. If it's just a few days away I'd wait and let the hive replenish itself.

But I'm not confindant in my "feel" for what is strong and what is weak yet. I figure if a hive can come through winter with a softball sized clump of bees... of course a wintered hive has comb and stores theoretically. But if you've been feeding your package should have some too.
 

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I have a small nuc that was struggling with low population even though I had a syrup feeder on it. Plenty of drawn comb, but the queen just didn't lay up all the cells to make a ton of bees. Each week, I'd add a frame of emerging brood from another hive. But the bees didn't get with the program until I added a pollen patty. Now they are going gang busters. I guess the forager bees were so busy trying to collect the pollen that there weren't enough nurse bees. Now that it's all right there in the nuc, most of the bees are all over the comb. So my recommendation is to also add a pollen supplement to the population with low workers. (and probably also for the nuc that you are getting).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Okay, now I am a little confused. Just checked my hive, they are feeding well, Queen cells are dark brown so they are a day or so away from emerging, BUT, they are building out, as opposed to new, comb. Making it thinker, wider. AND I am certain I saw a few eggs, not a ton nor in a particular pattern in the outer frames, laying workers?. They are also capping honey in the outer frames. I am beginning to think the hive despite it's disadvantages is doing well. There is capped brood on about 3 frames of half filled mediums. I think that once they get a laying queen the hive will begin to thrive.

I guess my only concern is, is it too late in the season or is there some hope for them to build to anything significant? I just have no feel for how fast a colony builds nor when the season really ends here in Vermont
 

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Sounds like a normal package supercedure. Make sure you have your comb properly spaced (that is, pushed together tightly in the center of the box). You should not have a laying worker problem, I'd guess you still have the original queen working away when there is space. It's warming up, so the bees can clear a few more cells for her around the capped brood, which is now making enough heat the bees can move around more.

The best thing to do is transfer a comb of emerging bees from a strong hive, but I would not take a frame from a nuc. Let them get going, which won't take long, and then decide if you need to boost your package.

And as stated, a small portion of a protein patty won't hurt. Small piece only, you don't want to start a small hive beetle factory in there.

Peter
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I just had a thought that of course raises a question. If I have the chance to purchase two Nuc's, which I may, what options would I have with this weak package hive?

Let it develop and hope it gets strong enough to overwinter and maintain 3 hives
or
somehow incorporate it into the two Nuc's and have two stronger hives?

It is the only hive I have left, it has roughly 6-7 partially drawn medium frames, one or two of which have queen cells that should be emerging any day.

Edit, I just purchased two 5 frame deep overwintered nuc's.
 

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See if you can buy a couple of frames of capped brood and bees from the person you bought the nucs from. Supplement the dwindling hive with the frames of brood and bees.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
See if you can buy a couple of frames of capped brood and bees from the person you bought the nucs from. Supplement the dwindling hive with the frames of brood and bees.
Awesome suggestion. Getting my two overwintered Nucs from Betterbee tomorrow and indeed, Joe is sacrificing 2 frames of capped brood for me (and a price of course) :applause:

Thanks for helping me through this chaos!

Question however, and I will ask Joe too, the weak package is in a medium box, while of course the brood will be deep frames for which I do have the equipment. Joe said to just add the deep on top of the medium and fill in the empty space with deep frames. Why not switch positions? Deep with 2 frames of brood with existing medium on top?

Just curious. There may not be any advantage.
 

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I am probably in the minority on this, but I would take the medium frames out and put them along with the 2 frames of brood in a deep box. If your bee numbers are low enough I wouldn't put the deep frames above the medium or you might not have enough bees to cover the brood. I would put the deep frames in the center of the box and fill in on each side with mediums. Once the bees hatch out you can put them all back in the medium box.

If you don't mind me asking, what are you paying for the frames of brood? I don't know what the going rate is for that.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am probably in the minority on this, but I would take the medium frames out and put them along with the 2 frames of brood in a deep box. If your bee numbers are low enough I wouldn't put the deep frames above the medium or you might not have enough bees to cover the brood. I would put the deep frames in the center of the box and fill in on each side with mediums. Once the bees hatch out you can put them all back in the medium box.

If you don't mind me asking, what are you paying for the frames of brood? I don't know what the going rate is for that.
$20 each. I am leaving the medium in tact and putting the deep on top as was instructed. Its a weak hive and it may fail, so why mess with them now
 

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You could add a queen excluder over the medium, add a deep box, place the five frames from the Nuc in that box (after removing the queen) along with five medium frames.

In 21 days all the brood will be hatched, remove the empty deep frames, remove the queen excluder and replace the deep box with a medium.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You could add a queen excluder over the medium, add a deep box, place the five frames from the Nuc in that box (after removing the queen) along with five medium frames.

In 21 days all the brood will be hatched, remove the empty deep frames, remove the queen excluder and replace the deep box with a medium.
Isn't that kinda accomplishing the same thing that I am trying to accomplish now? I am trying to jump start this weak hive by adding two frames of brood in the deep over the top of the medium, and assume that the queen cells that recently have superseded or re-queened the hive.

What I perceive I will end up with, Hopefully, is a fully drawn out medium + a fully drawn deep + a new queen + a fully functioning hive. Then I will switch the deep and medium, add another medium, and hope the hive is strong enough to get through the vermont winter!!!!
 

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Isn't that kinda accomplishing the same thing that I am trying to accomplish now? I am trying to jump start this weak hive by adding two frames of brood in the deep over the top of the medium, and assume that the queen cells that recently have superseded or re-queened the hive.

What I perceive I will end up with, Hopefully, is a fully drawn out medium + a fully drawn deep + a new queen + a fully functioning hive. Then I will switch the deep and medium, add another medium, and hope the hive is strong enough to get through the vermont winter!!!!
Sorry, I must have read too fast, I thought you were trying to get away from the deep equipment during the bolstering process. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
An Update. I added two frames of brood a week ago. The queen cells that did exist have all been riped down, and there is a bit activity in the hive, but I see no sign of a new queen. If I did my math right, it is right about now that I should begin seeing eggs, but thatr could vary a few days. I will give it another week before I attempt to requeen.

I also installed two Nucs that are doing OK, I see eggs in one and not the other. I do see the queens in both, but neither have newly drawn comb of any significance.

Comments welcome
 
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